Roman Empire was a unique association of peoples and places such as the
Mediterranean World had never seen before. What had been a patchwork of
Hellenistic monarchies, independent city-states, and Celtic tribes was
miraculously united into one great political entity. At its peak rule,
the Roman Empire stretched from Spain to Syria and England to Egypt.
The Roman Republic was
founded in 509 B.C. and in its earliest times, was ruled by kings and
chieftains. In 27 B.C., the Empire was formally established with the
title of "Augustus" given to its then ruler Octavian. From
that point on, the emperor was referred to as "Augustus", his
immediate heir "Caesar" and imperial wives were titled
of the success of the Empire can be attributed to the protection afforded by
its near invincible war machine, the Roman army. Many tactics and
weapons were first pioneered by this massive military force and just the
thought of having to challenge this entity thwarted many a foreign
enemy. Those that were brave (or foolish) enough to go up against Rome's
military were quickly made examples of to the rest of the world. The
technology and strength of the Roman military was the guardian of this great
society for some 500 years.
modern world today benefits much from a host of technological innovations
first given to us by the ancient Romans. From simple inventions such as
blown glass and underground sewer systems to major concepts in engineering and
the Roman calendar.
The middle to late third
century A.D. was a particularly turbulent time in Roman history. The
half-century from 235 to 284 A.D. is known as the period of the "Barracks
Emperors". During this time, there were 34 regular emperors and at
least 50 usurpers. Of this number, only two died of natural causes, the
rest falling victim to violent deaths, many being assassinated by their own
troops. The longest lasting emperors were successful generals, mainly of
provincial and non-aristocratic stock, vying for the loyalty of the troops
with promises of money. Civil war and the plague ravaged the
countryside. Half the population of the slums of Alexandria perished
from the illness. At one point, 5000 people A DAY died in Rome!
event in Roman history was probably more pivotal than that of the Christian
conversion of the emperor Constantine. Up to that time, Christians were
heavily persecuted by many of the previous emperors and the religion was
outlawed. That would all change in 324 A.D..
was encamped with his army at the Milvian Bridge, heavily outnumbered by
the armies of his challenger Maxentius, across the river. The
following historical account was recorded at that time by an ancient
writer as follows:
praying to his father's god, beseeching him to tell him who he was and
imploring him to stretch out his right hand to help him in his present
difficulties. While he was fervently praying, an incredible sign appeared
to him from heaven. (It would be hard to believe his account if it had
been told by anyone else. But the victorious emperor long afterwards
declared it to the writer of this history -- when I was honored to meet
and talk with him and he even confirmed his statement by an oath. Thus,
who could doubt him, especially since time has established its truth?) He
said that about noon, when the day was already beginning to decline, he
saw with his own eyes the trophy of a cross of light in the heavens, above
the sun, and an inscription that said 'Conquer by This' attached to it.
Seeing this, he and his army, which followed him on an expedition and
witnessed the miracle, were struck with amazement.
said that he doubted within himself what importance the vision might hold.
He continued to ponder its meaning through until he fell asleep. While
sleeping, the Christ of God appeared to him with the same sign he had seen
earlier in the heavens. God commanded him to make a likeness of that sign
which he had seen in the heavens and to use it as a safeguard in all
encounters with his enemies."
placed the sign of Christ on his standards and had it painted on his
shields. Constantine won the day with a decisive victory and Maxentius,
thrown from the Milvian Bridge, was drowned when the weight of his armor
caused him to sink into the mud and ooze at the bottom of the River Tiber.
His body was recovered the day after the battle. From this point on,
Christianity became the official religion of the Empire and the capitol
was moved from Rome to Constantinople (modern day Istanbul, Turkey).
Roman Empire went on for many years thereafter predominantly as a
Christian-ruled empire. In 395 A.D. Theodosius formally split the
empire into east and west halves amongst his two sons, Arcadius and
Honorius. The western half crumbled in the fifth century A.D. to a
host of barbarian puppet-emperors and warlords. The eastern half
started its transformation into the Byzantine empire and would continue
until the sack of the city by the Ottomans in 1453.
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johnbmcnamara.com - all
jewelry in this section features GENUINE ancient coins that were minted under the rule
of the classic Roman Empire.
piece comes with a certificate of authenticity / history sheet.